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Loughborough University complete relay clean sweep at National Winter Champs

Loughborough University completed a clean sweep of the relay events at the National Winter Championships, winning the final two races of the meet.

After winning the Men’s 200m Medley Team title on the opening day, Loughborough set their sights on winning all six of the team events at Ponds Forge.

They were well on track after winning the Women’s 200m Freestyle Team, Men’s 400m Freestyle Team and Women’s 200m Medley Team to keep their ambitions alive on the final day.

In the penultimate race of the Championships, the team of Alexander Bowen, Samuel Irvine, Harry Constantine and Archie Goodburn held off a fast-finishing East Leeds to win Loughborough Uni’s fifth relay gold of the week.

Bowen and Irvine both went under 22 seconds on the opening two legs to give Constantine and Goodburn the chance to lead the team to victory.

East Leeds weren’t far behind as they won silver in 1:28.96, while City of Manchester were just over two tenths of a second clear of Plymouth Leander to claim the bronze medal.

Loughborough’s super six

With Loughborough Uni having won the Women’s 400m Freestyle Team heats by almost six seconds, the sweep never really looked in doubt.

The new-look team of Candice Hall, Emily Crane, Abbie Wood and Amy Grant stepped up for the final, cruising to victory in 3:39.01.

With 54 members, Loughborough Uni had the biggest squad at the Winter Championships and they certainly made their presence felt.

Wood said: “It’s so fun being on such a big team. I’ve come from a small club in Buxton but to come together at events like nationals and being on more of a dominant team is contagious!

“Everyone starts doing well in their individuals as well as coming together on the relays, it’s just really nice.

“[My highlight from the week is] probably being on the relay team. I really just love coming together with the girls and you’re no longer just swimming for yourself – you’re swimming for the team and that’s just really nice.”

Loughborough were almost five seconds clear of silver medallists Mount Kelly, who improved their heat time by 10 seconds.

Millfield completed the podium, winning bronze in 3:47.69.